Genetics, recruitment, and migration patterns of Arctic Cisco (Coregonus autumnalis) in the Colville River, Alaska, and Mackenzie River, Canada

Arctic cisco Coregonus autumnalis have a complex anadromous life history, many aspects of which remain poorly understood. Some life history traits of Arctic cisco from the Colville River, Alaska, and Mackenzie River basin, Canada, were investigated using molecular genetics, harvest data, and otolith microchemistry. The Mackenzie hypothesis, which suggests that Arctic cisco found in Alaskan waters originate from the Mackenzie River system, was tested using 11 microsatellite loci and a single mitochondrial DNA gene. No genetic differentiation was found among sample collections from the Colville River and the Mackenzie River system using molecular markers (P[0.19 in all comparisons). Model-based clustering methods also supported genetic admixture between sample collections from the Colville River and Mackenzie River basin. A reanalysis of recruitment patterns to Alaska, which included data from recent warm periods and suspected changes in atmospheric circulation patterns, still finds that recruitment is correlated to wind conditions. Otolith microchemistry (Sr/Ca ratios) confirmed repeated, annual movements of Arctic cisco between low-salinity habitats in winter and marine waters in summer.

Zimmerman, C. E., A. M. Ramey, S. M. Turner, F. J. Mueter, S. M. Murphy, and J. L. Nielsen. 2013. Genetics, recruitment, and migration patterns of Arctic Cisco (Coregonus autumnalis) in the Colville River, Alaska, and Mackenzie River, Canada. Polar Biology. <doi:10.1007/s00300-013-1372-y>

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